The malachite kingfisher (Corythornis cristatus) is a river kingfisher which is widely distributed in Africa south of the Sahara. It is largely resident except for seasonal climate-related movements.

This is a small kingfisher, 13 cm (5.1 in) in length. The general colour of the upper parts of the adult bird is bright metallic blue. The head has a short crest of black and blue feathers, which gives rise to the scientific name. The face, cheeks, and underparts are rufous and white patches are on the throat and rear neck sides.

The bill is black in young birds and reddish-orange in adults; the legs are bright red. Sexes are similar, but juveniles are a duller version of the adult.

This species is common to reeds and aquatic vegetation near slow-moving water or ponds. The flight of the malachite kingfisher is rapid, with the short, rounded wings whirring until they appear a mere blur. It usually flies low over water.

The bird has regular perches or stands from which it fishes. These are usually low over the water. It sits upright, its tail pointed downwards. It drops suddenly with a splash and usually returns at once with a struggling captive.

Large food items are beaten on a bough or rail; small fish and insects are promptly swallowed. A fish is usually lifted and carried by its middle, but its position is changed, sometimes by tossing it into the air, before it is swallowed head downwards. Fish, aquatic insects, and crustaceans are eaten.

The nest is a tunnel in a sandy bank, usually over water. Both birds excavate. Most burrows incline upward before the nesting chamber is reached.

Three or four clutches of three to six round, white eggs are placed on a litter of fish bones and disgorged pellets.

The call of this kingfisher is then a short shrill seek. The breeding song is a chuckling li-cha-cha-chui-chui.

The malachite kingfisher was first described by the German naturalist Peter Simon Pallas in 1764 and given the binomial name Alcedo cristata.

A closely related species in Madagascar, the Madagascar malachite kingfisher, or Malagasy kingfisher, (Corythornis vintsioides), has a black bill and greenish crest, and is not quite as dependent on water as the African species. It is otherwise similar in plumage and behaviour to the more widespread species. Both the São Tomé kingfisher and the Príncipe kingfisher are usually considered subspecies, but are sometimes considered distinct species.
Malachite Kingfisher
Date Location Count
2020-02-10 08:05Technopole1
2020-02-01 09:58RN de Popenguine1
2020-02-01 15:04RN de Somone--Lagune1
2020-01-20 09:30Plaine de (dé)crue du fleuve Sénégal à l'aval de Diama1
2020-01-21 07:10Brousses de Toddé6
2020-01-30 08:30PN des Oiseaux du Djoudj2
2020-01-29 18:15Mare de Ross Bethio2
2020-01-22 12:20Réserve de Faune du Ndiaël--Nyeti Yone et bras morts2
2020-02-02 08:09Kotu Creek--Bridge and Mouth2
2020-01-31 08:45Kotu Creek1
2020-01-22 10:30PNDS--Mangroves Toubacouta/Sipo2
2020-01-20 09:30Tambi rice fields1
2020-02-11 07:37Lamin Lodge1
2020-02-13 15:47Marakissa Rivercamp1
2020-02-12 07:18Tendaba Mangroves2
2020-02-06 08:08Campement de Wassadou1
2020-02-05 08:20Mole NP--general (use more specific hot spot if possible)1
2020-02-06 07:45White Volta River at Daboya1
2020-02-03 08:00Winneba Lagoon1
2020-02-02 13:00Kpong Wetland, Volta River1
2020-02-02 15:00Sakumono Lagoon1
2020-01-22 16:00São Tomé--Santa Catarina8
2020-01-22 09:10Praia Governadora2
2020-01-22 08:45São Tomé-- Lagoa de Micoló2
2020-02-01 08:00PN Obô de São Tomé--Mangal de Malanza
2020-01-20 06:25Príncipe--Santo Antonio to Bela Vista
2020-01-20 07:55Santo António
2020-02-03 13:33Queen Elizabeth II NP--Mweya6
2020-02-12 07:06Queen Elizabeth II NP4
2020-02-01 16:09Queen Elizabeth II NP--Kazinga Channel2
2020-01-21 16:45Okavango Delta--Drotsky's Camp10
2020-02-02 08:40Rusizi Delta Nature Reserve1
2020-02-06 07:15Murchison Falls NP--Boat trip Paraa to Victoria Nile Delta4
2020-01-26 06:47Nyabarongo River
2020-02-07 08:00Lake Mburo NP8
2020-02-12 15:01Akagera NP--Lac Ihema2
2020-02-14 09:25Bum Hill Campsite1
2020-02-15 08:45Mabamba Swamp4
2020-02-04 06:35Mabamba Swamp--Main channel2
2020-02-09 10:43Lutembe Bay Ramsar Site1
2020-01-29 07:09Moremi--River Kwai (north side)1
2020-02-16 06:25Kafue NP--McBrides Camp1
2020-02-06 09:04Chobe River--boat trip (Botswana)1
2020-02-01 16:30Imbabala Safari Camp1
2020-02-09 07:35Bahir Dar1
2020-02-10 06:20Lake Tana Hotel1
2020-02-10 16:14Hwange NP--Robin's Camp1
2020-02-08 06:21Kasanka NP1
2020-02-02 06:49Maasai Mara NR--Mara Triangle4
2020-01-29 10:18Lake Baringo--Inshore Cliffs and surrounds1
2020-01-31 07:27Lake Nakuru NP1
2020-01-31 17:00Lake Awassa1
2020-02-01 07:15Hawassa Lake Promenade2
2020-02-08 11:40Haile Resort2
2020-02-18 15:20Lake Ziway - southwestern shore1
2020-01-29 08:29Intaka Island1
2020-02-14 08:45Rondevlei Nature Reserve2
2020-02-08 15:36Dick Dent Bird Sanctuary1
2020-01-26 07:33Helderberg Nature Reserve1
2020-02-15 10:54Lake Manyara NP (Arusha)1
2020-02-15 07:35Brackenhurst2
2020-01-27 07:40Paradise Lost1
2020-01-26 13:18Wajee Camp and Mukurweini area2
2020-02-16 07:51Nairobi NP1
2020-02-01 07:40Swara Plains Conservancy and Acacia Camp (formerly Hopcraft Ranch/Game Ranching Ltd.)1
2020-02-12 09:33Arusha NP1
2020-01-23 08:15Lake Duluti3
2020-01-25 08:02Kilimanjaro Golf & Wildlife Estate1
2020-01-24 07:02Tsavo West NP (general)1
2020-01-25 05:22Zaagkuildrift Rd (Please be more specific)
2020-02-18 06:26Walter Sisulu National Botanical Garden1
2020-02-01 07:30Uitvlugt Road
2020-02-10 09:24Wilderness NP--Rondevlei Bird Hide2
2020-02-15 05:43Rietvlei Nature Reserve2
2020-01-24 13:43Wilge River Valley (upper)1
2020-02-15 07:36Marievale Bird Sanctuary--Hadeda Hide1
2020-02-01 07:50Selous Game Reserve--Roho Ya Selous1
2020-02-04 07:47Selous Game Reserve--Lake Manze1
2020-02-08 15:12Buda Dam
2020-02-08 10:30Ramisi Sugar Dam4
2020-01-24 15:30Lake Jilore
2020-02-08 07:33Tiwi Swamp7
2020-02-15 14:00Nguuni Nature Sanctuary1
2020-01-24 15:55Arabuko-Sokoke Forest--Swamp1
2020-01-23 07:44Mikimba Swamp2
2020-02-11 09:50Haller Park--Bamburi Nature Trail1
2020-01-24 07:01Lake Chem Chem
2020-02-12 17:24Lower Tana River Delta1
2020-02-07 08:25Sabaki River Estuary
2020-01-25 15:22Kruger NP--Crooks Corner1
2020-02-13 07:27Tana Delta - Kalota2
2020-01-26 05:00Liwonde National Park--Mvuu2
2020-01-26 06:10Liwonde National Park3
2020-02-10 15:49Kruger NP--Fayi Loop/S141
2020-02-12 05:35Kruger NP--Phabeni to Skukuza1
2020-01-29 16:30Lake Panic Bird Hide2
2020-02-12 12:25Kruger NP--Lake Panic1
2020-02-16 06:00Kruger NP--Transport Dam1
2020-02-13 08:44Macaneta--Tidal wetland, dune forests and coast1
2020-02-05 06:00Phinda GR